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Public Statements

Isakson Criticizes National Mediation Board for Easing Path to Unionization

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Isakson Criticizes National Mediation Board for Easing Path to Unionization

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized the National Mediation Board for overturning 75 years of precedent to make it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize.

"The National Mediation Board simply does not have the legal authority to make such a radical change without Congressional authorization," Isakson said. "With this rule change, a union could be permanently recognized without a majority of employees having ever supported representation. I will use all available tools at my disposal, including the Congressional Review Act option, to see that this assault on employee rights does not stand."

The final rule change, which was issued today, would affect companies under the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act by allowing union elections to be decided by only a majority of workers who cast ballots, reducing the number of votes it takes for a union to win. Since the creation of the National Mediation Board in 1934, employees who did not vote on whether to create a union had been counted as "no" votes. Under this previous "majority rule" procedure, a union could only be approved if a full majority of all employees voted to do so.

Isakson believes the National Mediation Board does not have the authority to change this election procedure without Congressional authorization. The Supreme Court has upheld the "majority rule" twice, and the National Mediation Board previously rejected requests to change it four times under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The AFL-CIO requested the rule change in a Sept. 2, 2009, letter to the National Mediation Board. Isakson, along with seven of his Senate colleagues, filed official comments on the rule change with the National Mediation Board on Jan. 4, 2010, urging the board to reject the changes proposed by the AFL-CIO and claiming that the "integrity of the Board's rulemaking process has been compromised."

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